Monday, December 12, 2005

Visually challenged or just inconsiderate?

Our Visual Arts Ministry hung a show Saturday morning at our newest campus. We'd decided a few months ago to do a rerun of our inaugural show of 2001. For that we gathered as much of our home made art as we could find. Our recollection was that much of it had colorful Advent and Christmas themes. We'd photographed and cataloged it five years ago, so we had a record. Most of the art is in banner form--some felt, some burlap, some elaborate paintings on a coated fabric (looks like window shades), some metal sculpture, and one 3-dimensional mobile of the nativity. We didn't use any quilts because next month we're having a quilt ministry show. Six of us spent about three hours lugging ladders, sorting through musty storage in the basement, using a warm iron to smooth wrinkles, debating aesthetics and hanging the art. We have an Arakawa Hanging System.

The storage area was a disaster. People have just been stuffing things in there, tying stuff with string, or laying heavy things on top of fragile. Some of the banners we used in 2001 were just missing. Yesterday my husband and I went to the old campus and found some of the missing pieces stored behind the stage of fellowship hall, folded, wrinkled and with furniture laying on top even though we have specially design hanging space in the other building. We dusted them off and lugged them over to the gallery space today where we had to rehang a number of pieces to get the show to work right. There we discovered that whoever was in the building over the week-end (that could be many hundreds) had pushed tables up against the banners all up and down the halls--I suppose they were serving coffee or food, or maybe having a book sale. Who knows. Fortunately, I had brought an iron along to smooth out the ones we'd found, so I could use it to press out the creases left by the tables pushed up against the art.

In the catalog of sins for which Jesus died, this is not a big one. But we continue to be amazed that in a large, talented congregation of well educated people who are filled with empathy and sensitivity to many areas of Christian endeavor and service, particularly music and drama, we six seem to be the only members out of several thousand who give a fig about art. We care about ugly coat racks, and messy bulletin boards, and posters taped to mirrors in the rest rooms. Our teeth are on edge at flags and posters left up for years to advertise missions.

We aren't in this ministry to pretty up the building, as some people think. (We get a lot of thank yous from members who enjoy the shows.) We do it to draw people to the church who might never enter the building otherwise. I believe we have the finest gallery space in the entire Columbus metropolitan area.

Well, it's done now, and it looks nice, especially the missing pieces which have all been reunited (it was a series). Sort of like we'll all be in heaven.


P. Softly said...

Although I won't be there because I can only know about this through cyber space, I commend you for your efforts. And I would have to guess that the artists also thank you.

If only people could appreciate how much work goes into a show.

And if only people could appreciate how much effort goes into making art, actually, into making ANYTHING.

People take musicians for granted too.

I guess one has to walk in those shoes....

Let us pray that we appreciate all people's work more, whether it is the person who cleans the bathroom or the one who gets the communion ready for Sunday morning. Or the one who shovels the snow.

When we show up just before the pastor walks down the aisle, as I do when the choir doesn't sing, it is so so easy to just be a TAKER. Yes I am there to worship as well as be fed, but there is a lots that has to happen just to have a nice clean warm building, not to mention the visual and musical elements that enhance the worship.

And doesn't this also apply to what we put into the collection plate? Having been very involved with our stewardship committee, I know that we need to educate the members about stewardship and first fruits giving. But, quite honestly, many need to be educated about just how much it costs to have basic programs.

Sorry to go on and on, but I know that I take a lot for granted and I know that I get irritated when I think others take things for granted.

Dear Lord, Please help us all appreciate the work others do for your kingdom, whether in the church or without. Let us all be sensitive. Let us all pitch in. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Norma said...

You're so right. I take many of the volunteers and staff for granted too.